Meaning of ATTACK in English

ATTACK

I. at ‧ tack 1 S2 W2 /əˈtæk/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ attack , ↑ counterattack , ↑ attacker ; verb : ↑ attack , ↑ counterattack ; adjective : attacking, counterattacking]

1 . VIOLENCE AGAINST SOMEBODY/SOMETHING [countable] an act of violence that is intended to hurt a person or damage a place

attack on

There have been several attacks on foreigners recently.

a bomb attack

a knife attack

an arson attack (=an attempt to destroy a building using fire)

victims of racial attacks

2 . IN A WAR [uncountable and countable] the act of using weapons against an enemy in a war:

The attack began at dawn.

attack on

the attack on Pearl Harbor

be/come under attack

Once again we came under attack from enemy fighter planes.

Rebel forces launched (=started) an attack late Sunday night.

air/missile/nuclear etc attack

the threat of nuclear attack

3 . CRITICISM [uncountable and countable] a strong and direct criticism of someone or something

attack on

The magazine recently published a vicious personal attack on the novelist.

be/come under attack (=be strongly criticized)

The company has come under fierce attack for its decision to close the factory.

go on the attack (=start to criticize someone severely)

4 . ILLNESS [countable] a sudden short period of suffering from an illness, especially an illness that you have often

attack of

I had a bad attack of flu at Christmas.

He died after suffering a severe asthma attack.

⇨ ↑ heart attack

5 . EMOTION [countable] a short period of time when you suddenly feel extremely frightened or worried and cannot think normally or deal with the situation

panic/anxiety attack

Her heart began to pound frantically, as if she were having a panic attack.

attack of

a sudden attack of nerves

6 . ATTEMPT TO STOP SOMETHING [uncountable and countable] actions that are intended to get rid of or stop something such as a system, a set of laws etc

attack on

The new measures were seen by many as an attack on the Scottish way of life.

7 . SPORT

a) [uncountable and countable] an attempt by a player or group of players to score ↑ goal s or win points

b) British English [singular] the players in a team that are responsible for trying to score ↑ goal s or win points SYN offense American English ⇨ defence

in attack

Heath will play alongside Smith in attack.

8 . DAMAGE [uncountable and countable] when something such as a disease, insect, or chemical damages something:

Unfortunately, the carved ceilings have suffered woodworm attack over the years.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ NOUN + attack

▪ a bomb attack (=usually intended to achieve a political aim)

Animal rights activists are believed to have carried out the bomb attack.

▪ a terrorist attack

The accused men went on trial Monday for America’s worst-ever terrorist attack.

▪ a knife/gun attack

He was sentenced to nine years in prison for the knife attack.

▪ an arson attack (=intended to destroy a building by burning it)

Ten classrooms were completely destroyed in the arson attack.

■ adjectives

▪ a violent/vicious/brutal attack

Police described it as an extremely violent attack.

▪ a horrific attack

'This was a horrific attack,' said Detective Chief Superintendent Ron Astles.

▪ a frenzied attack (=very violent and uncontrolled)

The woman was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack at her home.

▪ a racial attack

Staffordshire police are treating the incident as a racial attack.

▪ a sexual attack

There was no indication of a sexual attack.

▪ an unprovoked attack (=in which the victim did nothing to cause the attack)

Their teenage son was knocked to the ground, kicked and punched in an unprovoked attack.

▪ a motiveless attack (=that happens for no reason)

He was stabbed to death in an apparently motiveless attack.

■ verbs

▪ carry out an attack

The man who carried out the attack has been described as white and 25 to 32 years old.

▪ an attack happens/takes place ( also an attack occurs formal )

The attack took place at around 10 pm Thursday.

■ phrases

▪ a series/spate/wave of attacks (=a number of attacks in a row)

The killing follows a series of brutal attacks on tourists.

▪ the victim of an attack

She was the victim of an attack in her own home.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + attack

▪ a nuclear attack

They would not risk a nuclear attack on the United States.

▪ an all-out attack (=that is done with a lot of determination)

General Smith was in favour of an all-out attack on the enemy.

▪ a full-scale attack (=that uses all the available soldiers and weapons)

German troops launched a full-scale attack on the city.

▪ an armed attack

Armed attacks against Israeli settlements are on the increase.

▪ a surprise attack

We launched a surprise attack on their camp just before dawn.

▪ a missile/rocket/mortar attack

There were 15 dead and 20 wounded in a missile attack on the capital.

▪ an air/bomb attack (=an attack from a plane using bombs)

Malta was under heavy air attack.

■ verbs

▪ launch an attack

In April the French army launched an attack.

▪ lead/mount an attack

The King now prepared to mount an attack on Granada.

▪ come under attack

Camps in the south came under attack from pro-government forces.

▪ be under attack

He arrived when the base was under attack from mortar and small arms fire.

• • •

THESAURUS

▪ attack noun [uncountable and countable] an act of using weapons against an enemy in a war:

The US was threatening to launch an attack on Iran.

|

The men had been carrying out rocket attacks on British forces.

|

Bombs have been falling throughout the night, and the city is still under attack (=being attacked) .

▪ invasion noun [uncountable and countable] an occasion when an army enters a country and tries to take control of it:

The Allies began their invasion of Europe.

|

The threat of foreign invasion is very real.

▪ raid noun [countable] a short attack on a place by soldiers or planes, intended to cause damage but not take control:

an air raid

|

NATO warplanes carried out a series of bombing raids on the city.

|

The village has been the target of frequent raids by rebel groups.

▪ strike noun [countable] a sudden military attack, especially after a serious disagreement:

Senior Israeli officials warned that they were still considering a military strike.

|

the possibility of a nuclear strike

▪ assault noun [countable] a military attack intended to take control of a city, area, or building controlled by an enemy:

The final military assault on Kwangju began at 3 am on May 27.

|

Hitler launched an all-out assault (=using as many soldiers, weapons, planes etc as possible) on Russia.

▪ ambush noun [uncountable and countable] a sudden attack by people who have been waiting and hiding, especially an attack on a vehicle or people who are travelling somewhere:

Five soldiers were shot in the back and killled in the ambush.

|

Enemy forces waiting in ambush opened fire on the vehicle.

▪ counterattack noun [uncountable and countable] a military attack made in response to an attack by an enemy:

Government forces launched a counterattack against the guerillas.

|

If they successfully occupied the city, they would need to be capable of defending it against enemy counterattack.

▪ onslaught noun [countable] formal a large violent attack by an army:

In 1544 there was a full-scale onslaught on France, in which the English took Boulogne.

|

The troops were preparing for another onslaught against the enemy.

II. attack 2 S3 W2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ attack , ↑ counterattack , ↑ attacker ; verb : ↑ attack , ↑ counterattack ; adjective : attacking, counterattacking]

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: attaquer , from Old Italian attaccare 'to attach' , from stacca 'sharp post' ]

1 . USE VIOLENCE [intransitive and transitive] to deliberately use violence to hurt a person or damage a place:

She was attacked while walking home late at night.

His shop was attacked by a gang of youths.

Snakes will only attack if you disturb them.

attack somebody/something with something

He needed 200 stitches after being attacked with a broken bottle.

2 . IN A WAR [intransitive and transitive] to start using guns, bombs etc against an enemy in a war:

Army tanks attacked a village near the capital on Sunday.

3 . CRITICIZE [transitive] to criticize someone or something very strongly:

Last year Dr Travis publicly attacked the idea that abortion should be available on demand.

attack somebody for (doing) something

Newspapers attacked the government for failing to cut taxes.

strongly/bitterly/savagely etc attack somebody/something

4 . DAMAGE [transitive] if something such as a disease, insect, or chemical attacks something, it damages it:

a cruel disease that attacks the brain and nervous system

5 . BEGIN DOING [transitive] to begin to do something in a determined and eager way:

She immediately set about attacking the problem.

Martin attacked his meal (=started eating) with vigour.

6 . SPORT [intransitive and transitive] to move forward and try to score ↑ goal s or win points ⇨ defend :

Brazil began to attack more in the second half of the match.

• • •

THESAURUS

■ to attack a person

▪ attack to use violence against someone and try to hurt them:

She was attacked by a man with a baseball bat.

|

Police dogs are trained to attack.

▪ ambush /ˈæmbʊʃ/ if a group of people ambush someone, they hide and wait for them and then attack them:

The judge was ambushed by gunmen as he drove to work at the courthouse.

▪ mug to attack someone and take money from them in a public place such as a street:

He was mugged on his way home from school.

▪ stab to attack someone with a knife:

The victim had been stabbed in the neck.

▪ assault to attack and hurt someone – used especially when talking about this as a criminal ↑ offence :

He assaulted a flight attendant who refused to serve him more drinks.

▪ be set upon by somebody/something written to be attacked by a group of people:

He died outside his home after being set upon by a gang of youths.

▪ turn on to suddenly change your behaviour and attack the person you are with, when they do not expect this:

The dog suddenly turned on him, sinking its teeth into his arm.

■ to attack a place

▪ attack to use weapons to try to damage or take control of a place:

The village was attacked by enemy warplanes.

|

We will attack at dawn.

▪ invade to enter a country and try to get control of it using force:

The Romans invaded Britain 2,000 years ago.

▪ storm to suddenly attack a city or building that is well defended by getting inside it and taking control:

Elite troops stormed the building and rescued the hostages.

▪ besiege /bɪˈsiːdʒ/ to surround a city or building with soldiers in order to stop the people inside from getting out or from receiving supplies:

In April 655, Osman’s palace was besieged by rebels.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.